NOTE: This is written for people with high-functioning autism. If you don’t have it, feel free to skip this, as it probably won’t do you much good:)
I was talking with my son with autism the other day. He said that he was having a hard time in his social skills class because he was feeling weighed down by all of the negative comments he was hearing from his classmates – kids who feel treated poorly because of their autism.
We talked a bit about different ways he could try to not let those comments get to him – listen to music to block out the words, think about something else, pray for his classmates, try to offer words of encouragement (though that doesn’t usually go so well – people commiserating don’t usually want to hear a reason not to complain).
Finally I said, you know, we people with autism are often quite annoying to other people. We don’t mean to be, but the fact simply is: we are.
So when we feel mistreated, we need to remember that we probably did something that pushed the other person over the edge of decorous behavior. Yes, people should be kind, no matter what. But we should also learn to be less annoying, no matter what. They are only human and just aren’t going to be able to be infinitely patient with us all of the time.
Our disability is generally invisible, which means that most people won’t realize we have autism. And those that do don’t necessarily know what that really means – how that makes us different. And those that do, just get tired, sometimes.
We need to cling to the verse:
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
When we see a colleague’s eyes glazing over (yes, that means that you need to make eye contact, at least every so often!), we need to try to wrap up our monologue and ask a question about them. When we feel like something isn’t right, we need to practice praying about whether or not we should actually say something, and if so, how to be as tactful and kind as possible.
Yes, sometimes we aren’t treated nicely. But remember, we truly can be annoying!